Digitalisation: an important lever for agricultural transformation


In the 48 pages of their annual report, CTA demonstrates the extent to which their actions in support of digitalisation contribute to agricultural transformation in ACP countries. “It is becoming increasingly evident that a strong focus on digitalisation as a means to drive agricultural transformation is bearing dividends in the forms of increased production, better livelihoods, more efficient value chains and ultimately greater food and nutrition security,” is the message from Michael Hailu, CTA Director.

At the heart of CTA programmes lies the promotion of the enterprising spirit of youth and the creation of jobs in rural environments, which have benefitted from ICTs. Other opportunities arise as a result, including the use of digital apps and the promotion of climate-smart farming practices.

In addition, the data compiled in the report demonstrates that these actions are successfully reaching their target audience; entrepreneurs from 14 countries have benefitted from training in the use of drones and no less than 50 cooperatives from Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo have had their members trained in good governance. In Eastern and Southern Africa, CTA’s Data4Ag project has had 86,298 registrations and in Ethiopia and Kenya, 10,827 farmers signed up for livestock insurance.

The annual Pitch AgriHack competition, organised by CTA since 2013, has also enabled more than 1 million farmers to benefit from the services of the participating start-ups. This year, female entrepreneurs were particularly successful: 14 of the 26 starts-ups that reached the final – and half of the companies that went on to receive awards – were managed by women. The annual report provides details of landmark projects, from job creation amongst West African rice growers, and empowerment of young workers (especially women) to transform Kenyan agriculture, to increasing yields and benefits in Uganda, or the revitalisation of island farming in Samoa. In the context of climate change, CTA has promoted the use of weather updates, livestock and crop insurance, as well as the use of more resistant seeds in order to improve smallholder resilience.

The lessons learnt from these different projects have enabled participants to reap long-term benefits. Improved post-harvest practices for maize in Rwanda, improved market access for fruit and vegetable growers in Zanzibar, and the promotion of soya production in Uganda are just a few of the projects that have benefited from workshops where experiences have been shared, and which cost little to organise.

Yanne Boloh

CTA 2018, A Year in Review: transformation for high performance agriculture.
By C Pye-Smith (coordinator), A Legroscollard & M Vandreck
CTA, 2019; 48 pp.
ISBN: 978-92-9081-649-2